06 October 2004

Too many deaths, either way

I don't know if anyone has explicitly discussed casualties in Iraq in relation to last night’s debate, but I want to get my 2¢ in quickly, so here goes.

Last night Cheney disputed Edwards’s claim that the US had sustained 90% of the coalition casualties in Iraq. Instead, he said, Iraqi troops should be considered as part of the coalition—and therefore have sustained “almost 50%” of the casualties. FactCheck.org shows this percentage is wrong. Moreover, no one is keeping an official tally of Iraqi deaths, so any number is really an estimate.

FactCheck.org attempts to be dispassionate in its analysis, so it overlooks this important issue: the Vice President’s statement is troubling for more than its factual error. It seems Cheney wanted to use this number to minimize the number of US deaths in Iraq. Since we’re playing percentages, the actual number doesn’t go down. But by counting more deaths, Cheney is attempting to make the situation in Iraq look seem better than it is. Welcome to the land of doublespeak, where more deaths means better situation. By this logic, we should hope for even more deaths in October than there were in September. In the Bush administration, it seems, death and violence are good things.

Forgive the 1992 reference, but regarding this Bush administration, “It’s time for them to go.”